The education ministry today said the reopening of schools nationwide would proceed in stages from Oct 3 based on the phases of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), with students in each class divided into two groups and each group taking turns to attend school physically.
Senior minister for education Radzi Jidin said the decision was taken as the ministry felt it was important to ensure that students are not kept away from school for too long.
“They have been away from school for far too long, so we must return them to school first,” he said today.
He also said the move to divide the students would ensure that physical distancing could be effectively implemented, after taking into account the problems faced when school was last in session.
However, he said the rotation system will not apply for residential schools.
Schools in states under Phase One of the NRP meanwhile will remain closed, with classes to continue online (PdPR).
Special needs students in Phase Two states will be allowed to attend school without any rotation while primary school pupils will continue with PdPR.
As for secondary school students in Phase Two states, only pupils in the second semester of Form Six and the third semester of sports school pre-university programmes and those taking international examinations will be allowed to attend school.
States under Phase Three of the NRP will be allowed to reopen preschools and private kindergartens without rotation.
At the secondary school level meanwhile full boarding school students sitting for public examinations will be allowed to attend school without rotation, while daily or private school students sitting for public examinations will be allowed with rotation.
For states under Phase Four, students from Standard One to Three will attend school on a rotational basis from Oct 17 onwards while those in Standard Four to Six will do the same on a rotational basis from Oct 31.
“Also beginning Oct 17, public examination classes, Form Three and Form Four students in full boarding schools will be allowed to attend classes on a rotational basis, while those in Form One to Three in daily and private schools will attend on a rotational basis. Form One and Form Two students will continue with PdPR,” he said.
On vocational schools, Radzi said schooling will first resume in states under Phase Two and onwards on a rotation basis according to the examinations they are sitting for and semesters they are in.
He also said that institutes of teacher education and matriculation college students in Phase One and Two will continue with PdPR, while those in Phase Three and Four who have been fully vaccinated will be given the option to attend campus and unvaccinated students will continue with PdPR.
Central region private education institutes in Phase One and Two states will operate via PdPR on a rotational basis at 50% capacity while for pupils aged four to six in Phase Three, classes will operate fully.
For Phase Four students, class capacity will be increased to 70%, also on rotation, from Oct 17, while full capacity with physical distancing will be allowed from Oct 31.
Radzi said the reopening of schools in areas that have been classified as travel bubbles will follow Phase Four operations.